The exhibition of some 200 works by 135 artists is an intimate, often whimsical side of some of the greatest artists of recent times, each offering a singular vision of adornment. The exceptional and little-known works of wearable sculpture will reward viewers with new insights into the creative wellsprings of such artistic giants as Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Caro, Yoko Ono, and Anish Kapoor.
French Venet first became fascinated with artist-made jewelry when her-then-beau sculptor Bernar Venet rolled a thin piece of silver around her finger to form a wedding ring. Since then, she has acquired jewels made by her husband’s confreres, a group that has included Arman, César, Mimmo Rotella, and Villéglé, and she has commissioned pieces by Kader Attia, John Chamberlain, Wim Delvoye, Orlan, and Frank Stella. “I’m careful to ask only those artists whom I think will find the request challenging and fun,” says Venet. “It’s important they recognize that the jewel should be seen as an extension of their art-making.”
While many of these wearable sculptures are crafted out of precious materials, what makes them so compelling is the beauty and candor of the artistic expression. Often conceived for a lover or a cherished family member or friend, a number of these pieces reveal a surprising tenderness or whimsy. The wearable sculptures will be presented in three groupings—the Early Masters, Representational, and Abstraction—with sections devoted to the human figure, nature, Popsubjects, words, geometry, and new technologies and materials.